What I Felt This Morning

In an email to my fiance, I wrote the following re: a dream that split me in two:
 
“We were traveling to a place with a beach and I carried a heavy dress in my arms while our tour guide took us to all the places along the coast, close to our hotel, that we could visit throughout our trip.

This tour guide then took me aside to say that we had to go on a special trip for the rest of the day.  You would stay behind.

We suddenly were at my grandma’s house, empty of people and stripped of the carpet and any upholstered furniture, but full of new furniture and/or re-imagined pieces of furniture en media reas…We were joined by this man’s (who turned out to be a interior designer) assistant, a woman around the same age as me, and we slowly went through each room.
He pointed out how different the space looked; how beautiful this piano was; how glorious the light hit the hutch in the dining room; how he’d had my dad re-do the organ with stained glass pieces incorporated into not just the sides, but the keys.  Each time he’d press a key, it would glow.
It was quiet and it was life on an alien planet through some wormhole from my past.  I could see myself, as a ten year-old, reading in the smallest bedroom upstairs when we walked by it and I could see myself, as a four year-old, splashing in the tub.  We crept into the master bedroom and I saw the designer and his assistant exchange a look.

It was the bedroom of my grandma’s present.  The old dressers removed, the side tables gone and just a mattress on the floor.  Not even a box spring;  just a mattress, old comforters and mismatched pillows that were sprinkled with stale cookie crumbs.  The sight of that bed made me cry.  At the loneliness of it and the solitude she had to feel each night, going to bed without my grandpa and all of her life–via furniture–in disarray.

Obviously, in that moment, they explained that she was gone.  She was dead and my parents couldn’t bear to tell me or even talk about it.  So, now it was up to me to take care of everything.  To take care of the house, to help this designer and his staff re-model the entire house, including the furniture, and sell it.  If it turned out successfully, the next project would be in Italy.

There was a letter which explained what I was to do and that my grandmother left me this house to start the next chapter of my life.  My life would be the re-creation of space and to literally reorganize my past in order to reflect my present.  That process would develop into my future.

I don’t have to tell you that when I woke up, it took me awhile to adjust to the fact that the day had started.  And I don’t have to tell you that I cried.  Because throughout all of the dream I didn’t feel sad.  I felt that I had a purpose again and that this was a gift from my family to realize that.

So, a friend of mine from Chicago, who has now moved back to NW Ohio and created her own art-related non-profit spoke about fear.  That because she faced the fear in her personal and professional life, she experienced failure, but through that failure, she found a life she was proud of and “how important it is to have someone to push you past your fear because when you have a healthy sense of vulnerability, true happiness can be gained.”

This is probably a dream to use as a lifeline and I know that to include a space somehow for my heart in its potential and creativity to be full again.  My heart is full of you and our life, but I want it to be full of possibility, too, if that makes sense.”
It’s hard to type this at work, surrounded by a corporate specificity, but I felt as though I’d forget this delicate feeling if I didn’t get it out there…A token to keep going, to appreciate what I have and to have confidence in what I will be.
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External Reflects Internal

After I read through the last post, I realized just how much of an excuse maker I’ve become.  I haven’t embraced myself, faults and all; it is always someone  or something else’s fault.  Why haven’t I gone forward in my career?  Clearly, it’s the corporate mindset and its inanity of the day-to-day.  Why haven’t I felt as healthy as I possibly can?  I can’t afford to attend the yoga classes or the expensive grocery lists (eating healthy is hard, guys!) or the outdoors affects me in such a way I can’t do it (allergies, am I right?).

I’d like to accept what my life is and to know what I want out of it.  I’d like to be more patient and to move forward with that presence of mind that there will be a glorious result for me.  I’d like to understand who I am completely and be plugged into that journey in all of its surprises.

I take two steps and pause, not to reflect, but to look around and see that I’ve only gone two steps.  That’s it?  That’s all there is right now?  But, I’ve done so much by now.  Why does it take this long?  Because when you’ve been treading water your whole entire life you expect to shoot forward like a jet ski; to zoom past the failures, annoyances and setbacks once and for all.  Except, I’ve lost exactly how to look around and see that it’s pretty damn good from here and it will only get better.

Can you celebrate life even in the midst of a crisis?  Can you stop whining for a moment about everything that is supposedly unfair and realize your awareness is a gift?

I looked around and found this to hold on to:

If we can live life consciously and authentically—understanding that things do not happen to us, but rather for us—we can use everything that comes in to our as experience to our benefit. We can locate all the barriers that keep us from beauty, love, abundance, intimacy, joy, and good health.–Erin Lanahan/tiny buddha

Tell Me Something Good

There was something that happened over this past weekend with my family–my mom, dad, brother and sister-in-law–that has really put me at a standstill with my progress in our relationship.  A point, just a few months ago to be exact, my brother had a breakdown of sorts, and he had to be checked into a psychiatric ward, in which the staff helped him find a better medication and better ways to deal with stress at work and home.  I wasn’t there for that, because they are all two hours away, but my parents and I were in constant contact.  It opened up or at least shed light on a possibility of what our relationship and methods of communication with each other would be; to be more open and honest and to start a dialogue, in the moment, despite how uncomfortable it felt, was the goal.

We promised it had to change.  It did, for a very short and temporary time, but it made it easier to move on in a healthier way for all of us.  Because I’d been in therapy both one-on-one with a counselor and in a new group therapy session for other women with ADHD, it was something that I was constantly aware of and obviously, to be that open made me much more vulnerable to any new and unexpected change.  However, it did not prepare me for things to go back to what they were before; to be quiet and to be as contained and as private as possible (I say as waspy as possible) with everything again.

This bled over into what our wedding next year would mean.  Before this recent revelation–same as it ever was–what we wanted to share with friends and family, in terms of who we were as people, what we meant to one another and what our new family would look like went back to a feeling of uncertainty.  In our minds, a sense of pride and happiness was the ultimate outcome; this would influence our creation of this special event.  I felt a little trepidation, sure, and a little gun-shy about the possibility of a conversation with them about my recent diagnosis with adult ADHD.

The fear was there, only I knew it had to be shared, as it ultimately could create a sense of togetherness moving forward with this whole process.  What it meant to me personally, if they noticed any patterns during childhood, or ways we’ve communicated that made it pretty clear what I had, was something I actually looked forward to, despite how terrifying it felt.  We talked about it in my group in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day weekend.  How to prepare, the talking points, what to share, what to keep back and share later, and what the overall sentiment should be, kept the door open for this conversation.

The week of, in the days after group, there were a couple instances that completely slammed that door shut.  And it was not because I was gun-shy about that particular subject.  I saw so many possibilities arise for miscommunication, and saw moments of passive aggressive behavior about such insignificant details in travel plans, times, the methods of communication, inserted into what they HAD to do because of my disregard.  The framing of all this was the reasoning, “because of your brother” and “well, your brother and ___” to excuse these little slights toward my character. 

I realized again that the opportunity to be open about ADHD would not be received in such a way and it never happened.  The weekend was okay, and I held back many times to just make it easier to get through the rest of the time I had there.  It was nice and I could point out positive things, but when you have something in mind to happen and it’s so important, and you know it isn’t possible, it only makes you feel stunted.

Now, I can’t shake those hurt feelings; the fact a great opportunity was taken away (my decision and it was a good one) to just make things easier for everyone.  That is our standard and it will change at some point, yet it does make you feel like the level of progress you thought you had made in yourself, the forward momentum and the slow building up of the self-esteem, isn’t as much as you thought it was…I am so controlled because I have to be, at certain times and with certain people.  Only, why do I translate that into most other areas of my life?

My work interaction, my professional life, my writing, my Art, contained a hesitation to share completely who I am, what I’ve become, what my goals and dreams were and that was present enough that it made the decision to not share anything with my family so much easier.  That was when it came to me and my life, though.  When it came to my brother, the door opened a couple of years ago with his mental disorder diagnosis and stayed opened.  Jealousy played a part, in that I felt I couldn’t be vulnerable or show a (perceived) weakness.  I had to be in control and confirm who I was to them; their expectations of me remained intact.

What does this mean about my wedding?  What do I mean as an adult to them?  Can I change this in time to be able to talk about this openly at any point in the future before the stress levels kick into high gear and I just won’t be able to deal?  My mom did settle in, at some point over the 24 hours I was up north, and requested for me to “tell her something good.”  What that means needs to change…

No Silver or Gold, Just Solid Craftsmanship

The fact that this question is one that not only haunts me, but itches at various friends and family, and even though we yawn into adulthood, it never goes away:

“Why do I have so trouble making and keeping friends?”

I don’t take it as personally, now, because I’m in the process of self exploration to tap into the reserves of my creativity, productivity, and personal accomplishments.  I look around at social circles and some of them overlap, but generally we (sometimes unconsciously and mostly consciously) keep them apart from each other.  I notice that I do that to satisfy very specific aspects of my personality, like the maintenance of a cafeteria table from long, long ago in my head.

There are few people I connect with on all levels–which is why my fiance makes the most sense to me now as a partner for life—and I reach a saturation point with friends sooner than later.  It has nothing to do with her or him, of course; my brain just has a knock at its door and I have to answer it.  The sound means I need to escape back into solitude for just a little awhile before easing back for more social interaction.

What does it mean that I like the type of friend from whom you can tiptoe away due to life, love and work circumstances, and return a few days, a few months, a few years, and pick up again?  The implication isn’t pure selfishness; I just want to be open to life and its ever-changing nature.  When you truly know someone, the ‘catch up/elevator/how’s the weather?’ talk is unnecessary or strictly temporary before you dive back into why you feel neglected by your family, sometimes, or how on earth do you paint hands so well, dammit?

We females need a sense of comfort and not necessarily a shoulder to cry on always, only someone who.gets.it.right.away.  Life stops its junior-high type rhythms into our twenties when we know that there is something meaningful for us or in the way we couldn’t care less about who sees our visible panty-line at work or the kind of booze we like as much as we want or that tucking our children in with just two books YOU want to read before bedtime is the highlight of the year.

A friend is who we need her and want her to be at various times and when she is not, to know that it’s okay to try again in another way or expect that you will still be who she needs you to be and to try the next time it’s important for her.  The next time I find myself wrapped up in what is or isn’t about a friendship with someone means I’m either reading too much into it or that she’ll be an overlap friend because that is how we connect.